2020 Presidential Editorial Board Endorsements Confirm Climate Is Top Electoral Issue
Washington, D.C. — An analysis of national and state endorsements from major editorial boards shows climate change has emerged this year as an often cited reason media outlets opted to endorse in the 2020 presidential election. The politics of climate change are driving voting behavior and influencing the political debate.
Across the country and in key battleground states, editorial boards put climate change alongside COVID-19, the economy, and health care, as the most important issues facing the country. This increased focus on the climate crisis follows voters’ changing attitude toward the issue — as now a majority of voters, including Republican-leaning women, voters of color, and younger voters view climate change as a priority for both the next administration and Congress.
The increased attention to the climate crisis comes as the country has been gripped with extreme weather that has cost our economy millions and put the lives and health of Americans at risk. This year alone, more than five million acres burned on the West Coast and the Gulf Coast have been hit with supercharged hurricanes — including the recent Hurricane Delta that ravaged a small Louisiana town still recovering from Hurricane Laura.
A clear underlying theme in these endorsements is the threat to our climate and how Trump and his anti-climate agenda can cause irreparable damage to our air, water, and public lands. The Trump administration has already rolled back nearly 100 critical environmental protections — all of which disproportionately affect Black and Latino communities.
Below are 24 media outlets, both national and in key battleground states, that have already cited clean energy, environmental racism, climate, and conservation issues as a major factor in their endorsement decision:
New York Times: “[Biden] recognizes the fateful threat of climate change and has put forward an ambitious, $2 trillion plan to slash carbon emissions, invest in a green economy and combat environmental racism.”
Washington Post: “On climate change, where Mr. Trump denigrates scientists and dismisses warnings about a grave threat to humanity, just as he did with covid-19, Mr. Biden understands that no issue is more fundamental to the long-term prosperity of the nation or the world. He would make it a priority of his administration. Yet, resisting more strident voices on the left, he has declined to use the climate emergency to justify massive, unrelated programs, such as universal federal job guarantees or single-payer health care. Instead, he offers a credible plan for the right goal — making the country carbon-neutral by mid-century.”
Los Angeles Times: “Listening to the science validating climate change, repairing infrastructure, overhauling immigration policy, reforming campaign finance — these are all urgent tasks for the federal government, yet the current administration has ignored them. Biden would make climate change and clean energy central features of his approach to improving the economy, acknowledging the existential threat posed by the fossil-fuel industry.”
The New Yorker: “Biden can rise to the challenge of the climate emergency. This year’s devastating wildfires illustrate how high the costs of failing to deal with climate change already are.”
Scientific American: “Trump also keeps pushing to eliminate health rules from the Environmental Protection Agency, putting people at more risk for heart and lung disease caused by pollution. He has replaced scientists on agency advisory boards with industry representatives. In his ongoing denial of reality, Trump has hobbled U.S. preparations for climate change, falsely claiming that it does not exist and pulling out of international agreements to mitigate it. The changing climate is already causing a rise in heat-related deaths and an increase in severe storms, wildfires, and extreme flooding.”
Nature: “Joe Biden must be given an opportunity to restore trust in truth, in evidence, in science and in other institutions of democracy, heal a divided nation, and begin the urgent task of rebuilding the United States’ reputation in the world.”
Endorsement in Key Battleground States
- Tucson Star: “The way to stop the damage Trump’s administration has wrought on our economy for working people, public health, the environment, public safety, education system, and our credibility as a nation is to elect a responsible, respected and respectable president in Biden.”
- The Palm Beach Post: “[Biden] will fight for environmental protections for our air and water and encourage efforts to cut carbon emissions to curb climate change. That’s what the steward of Earth’s richest country is supposed to do.”
- Tampa Bay Times: “Biden would work to shore up the country’s environmental policies. He was an early leader on measures to combat climate change but would not end fracking for natural gas, another example of his balanced approach…That would be good news for Florida, a state particularly vulnerable to sea-level rise. Biden will reverse Trump’s decision to take the United States out of the Paris Agreement on climate action, which hurt the country’s credibility with our partners around the world. It took an election year for Trump to swear off drilling near Florida’s coast. But how can anyone trust that he would keep his word?”
- Des Moines Register: “[Biden] must recognize climate change as a threat to our future, work with Congress to reform our immigration system and restore our global relationships.”
- The Gazette: “Speaking of science, Biden doesn’t believe climate change is a hoax and has a plan to deal with the crisis and its consequences. He will rebalance the nation’s effort to protect the environment, rather than recklessly opening up our refuges, preserves, and wetlands to exploitation. The Environmental Protection Agency will protect the environment again.”
- Quad-City Times: “On climate change, Biden’s plan — while not as expensive as those laid out by some of his primary rivals — still sets challenging, achievable goals to lessen the carbon in the air that is threatening our planet.”
- Portland Press Herald: “When [Biden] turned what was supposed to be an informative exchange of ideas into a disorganized slop of insults and lies, we learned a lot about his style of leadership. But we learned nothing about his plans to address the four historic crises that America is facing: a deadly pandemic, a deep recession, racial injustice too obvious to deny, and the accelerating consequences of climate change.”
- Bangor Daily News: “Biden’s policies on health care, climate change, and economic growth, among many others are better aligned with the needs and realities of American people… Biden would recommit the United States to the Paris Climate Agreement to reduce emissions and calls for big investments in clean, renewable energy and infrastructure, which will benefit both the environment and the economy.”
- Star Tribune: “The world has lost precious years in the fight to mitigate climate change, and here too Trump has been a denialist even as the evidence of such change rages all around us.” | “Biden recognizes climate change for the priority it is, and would marshal resources and return science to the White House. His policies are tempered by a focus on what’s possible. On climate change, the goal is well within reach: achieve a carbon-neutral nation by 2050 and rejoin the Paris accord.”
- Bozeman Daily Chronicle: “The world has lost precious years in the fight to mitigate climate change, and here too Trump has been a denialist even as the evidence of such change rages all around us.”
- Las Vegas Sun: “Biden comes armed with a detailed array of strategies for leading Americans — all Americans — into a new era. He stood out among the Democratic candidates in large part because he developed a particularly impressive set of policies covering a huge array of issues critical to Americans — health care, climate, energy, infrastructure, gun violence, foreign policy, and more. Look on his website, and you’ll find detailed policies covering nearly 50 topics.”
- Asheville Citizen Times: Biden’s wide-ranging program to decelerate climate change includes a pledge to eliminate carbon emissions from power plants by 2035.
- Columbus Dispatch: “Biden recognizes climate change for the priority it is, and would marshal resources and return science to the White House. His policies are tempered by a focus on what’s possible. On climate change, the goal is well within reach: achieve a carbon-neutral nation by 2050 and rejoin the Paris accord.”
- The Plain Dealer: “Climate change is another topic that separates the candidates. Trump has been all over the map with statements about climate change, calling it a hoax but also saying it is a serious subject. Forget his words and consider his actions. He has repeatedly eased restrictions imposed by previous administrations, particularly Obama’s, intended to curb the greenhouse gases destroying our planet…Biden describes climate change as an “existential threat” to the earth. He would recommit the United States to the Paris Agreement and aim for the nation to have 100% clean energy sources by 2050. Biden gets it. He knows how dire this is. He listens to scientists. If you prioritize the environment and preserving the planet for future generations, you want Biden to be your president.”
- The Philadelphia Inquirer: “Biden has vowed to rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement, and has more recently worked with Sen. Bernie Sanders and other progressives on strengthening his climate plan with the goal of making American carbon-neutral by 2050. He wants to spend $2 trillion over four years on a green-energy program that would create thousands of jobs building electric cars or solar panels or cleaning up waste dumps.”
- Scranton Times-Tribune: “Trump proposes the impossible — to halt economic dynamism. But over the last four years, for example, world markets have eclipsed Trump’s 2016 vow to restore the coal industry. Over that period, even as Trump has tried to slash regulations and adopt policies to maintain coal use, natural gas and renewables have accelerated coal’s downward trajectory. And for the first time ever, even oil has lost its place on the Dow Jones “big board.”
- Houston Chronicle: “Biden’s accomplishments speak for themselves: A U.S. senator by 29. An early voice for campaign finance reform and taking action on climate change.”
- Wisconsin State Journal: “That won’t surprise anyone who has been reading our editorial page for the last four years. The State Journal, which has endorsed both Republicans and Democrats for the presidency over the last quarter-century, has faulted Trump for his reckless behavior, denial of basic facts, soaring debt, and dismissive approach to climate change.”